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Two airplane pilots reportedly failed to land at a runaway airport after falling asleep while flying 37,000 feet in the air on a flight from Sudan to Ethiopia.
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 flying from Khartoum to Addis Abba missed its destination “when the pilots fell asleep,” according to an Aviation Herald report. Air traffic control at Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa airport attempted to contact the pilots after they failed to land on August 15.
When the pilots finally woke up, they landed on the runway on their second approach 25 minutes later, the report said. The maximum guest capacity for the aircraft is 154.
The entire crew was put on leave and put under investigation, according to the BBC.
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“We have received a report indicating that Ethiopian flight number ET343 en route from Khartoum to Addis Ababa temporarily lost communication with Addis Ababa air traffic control on August 15, 2022,” Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement on Friday. The flight then landed safely after communication was restored. The crew was removed from the activity pending further investigation.
“Appropriate corrective actions will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation. Safety has always been and will continue to be our first priority,” the statement read.
Reactions on social media have shown sympathy for the pilots, with some suggesting they have a busy work schedule that has fatigued them. However, many people, including aviation analyst Alex Macheras, believe the crash was “deeply concerning.”
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“A timely reminder that pilot fatigue is widespread, a problem across the airline spectrum, sometimes systematic, and poses a major threat to aviation safety,” Macheras tweeted.
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